A/N: I know it's been done before, this Veela thing, but I just couldn't resist... So here's my version! This idea has been sitting in my 'ideas' folder for a while, so I decided to make it into an actual story. The exam I have tomorrow and am avoiding studying for was also a motivating factor...
This chapter is unbeataed, if anyone wants to volunteer to beta, I'd really appreciate it.
Shifting uncomfortably in his chair, Draco rubbed a hand against his aching chest. The gnawing ache had been going on for a while now, and it was starting to worry him slightly. He glanced around the Potions classroom to see if anyone had noticed his discomfort, not wanting to make his weakness obvious.
Blaise was directing a worried look at him from across the room where he was sitting beside his partner, Potter. Snape had decided that they were almost enjoying his class on some days so he had assigned them as partners with the person they were least likely to get along with just to add that little bit extra unpleasantness to their day. The old bat didn't want people to think he was going soft.
Shaking his head minutely at his friend to signify that he was fine, Draco finished his scan of the room. If Blaise had noticed, then he wasn't hiding his pain as well as he'd hoped. His grey eyes landed on the busy head sitting beside him at their desk. Granger had noticed his discomfort and was staring at him with a concerned look in her molten chocolate eyes.
His lips turned down in a frown at his Gryffindor partner. Her eyes were the colour of dirt; flat brown and boring. Not molten chocolate.
"Are you all right Malfoy?" She asked in a whisper, ignoring the dark frown marring his face that clearly warned not to comment on what she'd seen. Granger was irritating like that, always sticking her self-righteous nose in other people's business.
Draco tried to strengthen his glare and intimidate her into turning back to the potion they'd been assigned to work on, but the pain in his chest suddenly worsened to an almost unbearable agony. Without his permission, his body curled around his stomach in an unsuccessful effort to soothe the stabbing pains. He barely even registered the impact with the floor as he fell out of his chair and landed in a heap on the unforgiving dungeon stones.
The last thing he remembered before the pain intensified to the point where he could no longer maintain consciousness was her cinnamon irises looking down at him anxiously. He blinked at her helplessly as the blackness that had been encroaching on him overwhelmed his vision and he passed out.
With a quiet groan, Draco shifted slightly under the uncomfortable, scratchy sheets. What in the world were the elves thinking putting those things on his bed? They may as well have used sandpaper against his delicate skin. He blearily opened his eyes, glancing around the blindingly white room where he had been sleeping. The events of Potions class came rushing back when he realized that he was in the Hospital Wing.
"Oh Draco!" Someone said, throwing their arms around him. The position was a little awkward, as she was sitting in a chair beside his bed and he was lying down.
He made a face as he spit out the hair that had gone into his mouth. "Mother? What happened?"
The hair that was trying to suffocate him was removed as Narcissa's arms loosened from around his neck. She pulled back to see him better, looking over every visible centimetre of him for bruises from the fall.
"I knew your father should have warned you before you left for school," she sighed, smoothing his hair away from his face.
Draco's eyes darted to his father as the man finished conversing with the Mediwitch and walked purposefully over to Draco's bed. He hadn't noticed the imposing presence of his father in the room until his mother had mentioned the man. Lucius Malfoy wasn't someone it was wise to overlook.
"Son, I have something to tell you," Lucius said after a moment of observing his offspring. His proclamation was followed by more silence.
Looking between Draco's expectant face and Lucius' frown, Narcissa sighed. Lucius may have come across as someone to fear to outside observers, but the man hated to deal with their son's fits of temper and was hesitant to start one. She supposed it was their own fault; they had spoiled the boy when he was young.
"What your father is trying to say," she spoke up, shooting Lucius an exasperated look. "Is that he's a Veela, making you one as well; the blood's dominant."
Draco's usually pale visage drained of what little blood that was usually there. "Tell me this is some kind of cruel joke." He pleaded. He didn't know much about Veelas, but he did know that being one meant that his 'pure' blood he'd been so proud of was a lie. There was something else nagging at the back of his mind as well, something important he was forgetting about Veelas, but he couldn't seem to put his finger on it.
"It's true." Lucius said. "There's something else as well..."
Narcissa rolled her eyes at the continued hesitance of her husband. The man really did spoil the boy. It was part of his Veela nature, but that didn't mean it was right.
"Draco, as a Veela, you have a mate. This girl is going to come to mean everything to you because she's your soul mate... There's just one little problem; you're going to have to find your mate within the year. Failure to do this will lead to your death." She told him, brutally revealing the truth.
Her husband gave her a reproachful look that she ignored. He knew what it was like to have something like that dropped on your head, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. Narcissa wasn't even looking at her husband, all her attention was directed at their son, who was gaping like a fish.
"You'll be drawn to her, but there's only one way for you to know for sure who she is." Lucius chimed in when it didn't seem that Draco was going to pull himself together enough to comment. At least the boy wasn't yelling, so far he was taking it better than expected.
Draco waited, both dreading and needing to know what his father was going to tell him. "What is it?"
"A kiss," Lucius said with a sigh, anticipating his son's negative reaction to the new information.
The younger Malfoy's eyes widened in horror before a red tinge of anger started in his cheeks. "You want me to just go around kissing every girl I meet? Just whore myself around?" He yelled, outraged.
"Language!" His mother chided in the background, but they didn't pay her any mind.
Lucius raised a pale eyebrow. "I was under the impression you did that already."
"Not just anyone, Father. I have standards."
Lucius was starting to get fed up with the boy's whinging. Sometimes he wished he'd had a girl, she'd be more likely to be happy that she had a perfect match out there somewhere. "Draco," he gritted out. "This girl is your perfect match in every way; your soul mate. When you find her, those standards will fly out the door."
The boy nodded, but he didn't look like he'd been listening. In fact, he looked nauseated. "What if she's in Gryffindor?"
He was so overdramatic. Lucius had to wonder if he was ever this irritating when he was young.
Narcissa had been watching the exchange between father and son and was starting to tire of it. She put a hand on Lucius' arm to stop the outburst she knew was about to happen. The man didn't have much patience when it came to their son, probably because the boy was just like him.
"Draco, you listen to me," his mother ordered. "There's a girl out there who will make you happy for the rest of your life if you can just find her. If you don't, you will die. This isn't something you can just get out of by having your Father use his pull to change the rules. It's time you grew up."
She leant down and kissed his forehead before leaving the room. His father patted the boy's shoulder in a show of support and followed his wife out of the room, looking amused at the entire situation. There was no doubt in his mind that Draco would manage to find the girl, Malfoys were nothing if not fully invested in their own self-preservation. His journey to find the girl was sure to be interesting though, Draco had enough of his mother in him to make him outspoken enough to get himself in plenty of trouble before he'd managed to settle down with this girl.
Draco stared after his parents in disbelief, unable to properly process the dramatic change his blood had just thrown at him. There was probably some irony in there somewhere; the blood he'd been so proud of for its purity was now going to kill him. He was too distraught to properly appreciate it. How could his parents just impart information like that one him and the leave?
Suddenly, the curtain that had been surrounding the bed beside him whipped back, making him nearly jump out of his skin. It revealed a head of unmistakeable bushy hair and eyes alight with interest and sympathy. Great, more fun was yet to be had.
Merlin, what had he done to deserve so much aggravation in one day? Wait... he could probably answer that himself. His eyes snapped down to his left arm before the settled on the nuisance and narrowed into a glare.
"Merlin, Granger. What the hell are you doing?" He demanded angrily, unhappy that she'd managed to startle him and with his life in general at the moment. Why did it have to be her who had heard that entire thing with his parents? Now he wouldn't be able to torment her without fear of her revealing his secret.
Granger had always been an easy target to torment when he was feeling down. Something about poking fun at her faults had always made him feel better about whatever it was that was bothering him.
"I heard what they said," she told him. Her legs swung over the side of the bed she sat on and she hopped down, walking to his bedside and taking the visitor's chair.
Draco frowned at how un-intimidated she appeared. He was obviously doing something wrong if she felt so comfortable with him that she just confidently took the visitor's chair like that.
"Of course you did," he muttered. "If you tell anyone I'll make sure to make your life miserable. Well, more miserable than it already is." It was obviously already pretty horrible, she spent most of her spare time with the Weasel and Saint Potter.
Hermione only rolled her eyes at his threats. "Don't even bother Malfoy, you can insult me all you want, but you're not getting rid of me until I've said what I have to say." She waited to see if he was going to object, but he merely scowled at her. Just to piss him off, she smiled radiantly at him. "Good. Now, as Head Girl, I feel it is my duty to stop something like the preventable death of the Head Boy from happening. So I'm offering my services." She told him primly.
Draco took a moment to just stare at her in disbelief. "Granger, there's no way in hell you're my mate. Besides, I don't think you can just... offer."
Immediately, her face took on an appalled expression. That hadn't been what she'd meant at all, but he didn't have to be so mean about rejecting her theoretical offer. Although she hid it well, deep down, Hermione was a little hurt that he'd just write her off without even pausing to think about it for a moment.
"That's not what I meant at all. Stop being daft. I was offering to help you find your mate."
"You're going to help me kiss all the girls in Hogwarts until I find the one that's going to save my life?" He asked. The kindness that had motivated her offer was something unfamiliar to him. Also, he would have thought something in that plan would upset the delicate morals of the uptight Gryffindor.
She wrinkled her nose in distaste, knowing she was going to regret this. "Yes."
Instead of the mocking she'd been expecting, he gave her a strange, unreadable look. "Why would you help me?" He asked.
"Because it's the right thing to do." She said. He may be an evil prat, but Malfoy didn't deserve to die. Their seventh year was supposed to be all about rebuilding after the war, and what better way to start than for Hermione Granger to do something kind towards Draco Malfoy? Not that she planned on letting the whole thing get out, that would be mortifying. It wasn't her secret to share, so she had no plans on telling a soul.
"This doesn't mean I'm going to be nice to you." He spat the word nice like it was a particularly foul disease. "And no one is to know that I'm part Veela."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "No one would believe me even if I told. Don't worry, I won't spread it around that you precious 'pure' blood isn't as pure as you thought."
Just to irritate him, she patted his cheek condescendingly as she stood from her chair. His reactions were sluggish from his recent collapse, so he wasn't able to pull away in time.
As she was leaving, Hermione glanced back at him in confusion. When her hand had touched his cheek, she could have sworn that he'd actually leaned into the contact even while he glared furiously. She shook her head. That was insane; she must have been imagining it.
His skin had been warmer than she would have thought, and it wasn't as smooth as it looked. The hair there was blond so she'd never noticed before that Malfoy had stubble. He'd obviously skipped the shaving spell that morning, probably distracted by the pains his parents had been talking about in hushed voice before he woke. Ron didn't need to use the spell, a sore spot for him that Fred and George exploited mercilessly and a topic Harry and Hermione had learned to carefully avoid. It was odd to think of Malfoy as a man, he'd always been a little bully of a boy in her mind.
When he'd been unconscious and unable to talk, he's been almost... attractive. That was a thought that made her worry she'd caught something while in the hospital wing. Malfoy was not attractive. He was an evil, vindictive little prat who spent entirely too much time insulting her and her friends.
Shaking off the strange notions flooding her head, Hermione made her way to the Great Hall for dinner. She smiled when she noticed that Harry and Ron had saved her a seat.
"Have you been in the hospital wing with Malfoy this whole time?" Ron asked when he noticed her. His eyes were filled with accusation.
Her nose wrinkled in distaste at the food that fell out of the redhead's mouth as he talked. Someone really needed to teach the boy some table manners. Even at their most obnoxious, Fred and George knew how to chew with their mouths closed, and Ginny's manners were impeccable. Hermione couldn't help but wonder what had gone wrong with Ron - because something had obviously gone horribly wrong.
"He was unconscious Ronald. It's not like I was sitting there enjoying Malfoy's company." Hermione snapped, irritated. With Ron, she got all of the fun of a jealous lover with none of the affection all rolled into one gangly, hot-headed package. He may have been one of her best friends, but she tired of him sometimes.
"Did you find out what happened to make him just fall down like that?" Harry asked.
Hermione hated lying to her friends, especially after everything that they'd gone through together, but this wasn't her secret to tell and she'd already told Malfoy that she wasn't going to spread his real heritage around. Her only option was to lie. "I just stayed long enough to make sure he wasn't going to die. Can you imagine me having to get used to another Head Boy? It was bad enough before."
Her comment successfully distracted Harry. "I still can't believe McGonagall put you two in a dormitory together. It's cruel and unusual punishment!"
She rolled her eyes at his predictable reaction, but sat there and nodded at all the right moments and he repeated the rant she'd already heard too many times.
As soon as she could do it without looking like she was starving herself, Hermione retreated from the table. She'd managed to lie, but the lie was weighing heavily on her shoulders. She just wanted a nice, warm bath and a few hours of homework to help her relax.
That plan died the moment she heard hurrying footsteps behind her. A glance over her shoulder revealed that Ginny was trotting to catch up.
"Hermione, wait!" The redhead called.
With a sigh, Hermione stopped so that her friend could catch her. "What's wrong Ginny?"
"You were lying." Ginny said. "Back there when Harry asked you if you knew what happened to Malfoy, you lied. I want to know why." She said in her no nonsense voice.
Though that tone would have worked on any of her brothers, Hermione was no pushover. "I can't tell you Ginny." She said regretfully as she arrived at the portrait that guarded the Head Dorms.
The redhead followed her in, unwilling to accept that as an answer. "C'mon Hermione. I won't tell anyone whatever it is that you're hiding."
Hermione sighed, but she wasn't looking at Ginny. She was looking at the figure lounging shirtless on the sofa and giving her an irritated look. Her day just got a little more horrible.
"Granger, I know you're obsessed with overachieving, but I was only going to do Gryffindors as a last resort." He drawled in that infuriating way of his.
Ginny was confused. She looked between her friend and the git that friend lived with. Then she focused on that git's chest. Merlin. "Does he always walk around like that?" She whispered, awed. If he did, she was going to have to visit Hermione at the Head Dorms more often.
Hermione glared towards the Slytherin; sadly, he did. It was part of his campaign to make her uncomfortable and spend as little time as possible in the Head Dorms. So far, the campaign was working quite well.
"It doesn't matter Ginny." Hermione sighed, suddenly more weary than she could remember being in a long time. After the war, things were supposed to have calmed down. She'd obviously forgotten to take into account the fact that nothing in the Magical World ever really 'calmed down'.
As if sensing that it was the worst thing he could possibly do, Malfoy rose gracefully from the sofa and approached the pair of Gryffindors. Now that he was looking at her, the She-Weasel wasn't that bad on the eyes. If she didn't have so many unfortunate siblings and atrocious taste in men, then she would almost be up to his standards.
He paused when he was in front of them. The redhead's eyes were focused on his chest, as if mesmerized, but Granger was staring at his left arm. Shite. He'd forgotten the glamour charm on the Dark Mark. Wordlessly and wandlessly, he cast the charm he used every day to hide the shameful scar.
Distraction. He needed her to stop looking at him like that. He was unsure why, but that disappointed and mournful expression of Granger's needed to stop.
Before he could over-think it and talk himself into changing his mind, he grabbed the She-Weasel's chin and kissed her. She hadn't been expecting him to do anything of the sort, so she was unresisting.
Draco could feel her lips, warm against his. It felt wrong. She was relatively attractive, and in the past, his hormones would have been satisfied with her.
Before either of the Gryffindors could hex him, Draco pulled away and left them there. He'd heard impressive things about the Weasley woman's Bat Bogey Hex and didn't want to stick around and get firsthand knowledge on whether the rumours were true.
His lips were tingling, but not in a good way. When he was sure neither of the Gryffindors could see him, he swiped an arm across them in an attempt to stop the unpleasant feeling.
Since the whole Veela thing, something had changed. He was supposed to be the person never wanting for female company because they threw themselves at him. How was that supposed to work if there was only one female out there that didn't repulse him? It seemed that his Veela blood was going to force a serious lifestyle change on him.
Hermione and Ginny watched him stroll up the stairs and shut his bedroom door behind him, completely shocked. Slowly, a red flush started to make its way up Ginny's neck. By the time it had reached her face, Hermione'd had time to process what had just happened.
Merlin, she was going to murder Malfoy. Although she'd probably have to wait in line after Ginny. And Harry! She was in way over her head; there was no way she'd be able to sit by while he did that to all kinds of unsuspecting girls and broke up relationships all over the school.
"What was that?" Ginny asked, looking like she was fighting to keep her composure through the rage darkening her face.
"That was Malfoy at peak irritating capacity," the brunette muttered. He was really on form that day.
Ginny started wiping her hands across her mouth frantically, trying to rub off the contamination from his slimy, Slytherin lips. "How am I supposed to tell Harry that I've caught some kind of sexually transmitted disease from Malfoy? And you look horrified, but not as surprised as you should. What's going on?"
Trust Ginny to notice minute changes in Hermione's expression while being murderously angry.
Nervously, Hermione shuffled from foot to foot. Malfoy was an enormously foul person, but it wasn't in her nature to spout the secrets of others. "Can we just forget this ever happened? By the end of the year, you'll have your answer." She said. Either Malfoy would die and the truth would come out, or he'd find whoever his mate was and the truth would still probably come out.
The redhead sighed and wiped her mouth one more time. "It's probably best that we just forget. Harry would kill Malfoy for this, and I don't think even the man who killed Voldemort would get away with cold-blooded murder."
Gratefully, Hermione nodded. She saw Ginny out the portrait hole and made sure her friend was gone. Once the painting closed behind the other Gryffindor, she leant against the wall in exhaustion. Screw the bath and homework, she was going straight to bed; she'd need all the rest she could get if every day was going to be like this.